We’re nearing the end of another community almanac development cycle, where we changed the ui quite a bit. Here are some of my thoughts on it.
The operation that we wanted to optimize for was contributing a page to an almanac. We used to call them “stories” but we tried to stress the book/page metaphor a little bit more now. We also tried to make sure that adding a simple page was very easy, while also providing flexibility for the user.
Previously, we had taken a wizard-like approach for this case. A user was presented with a series of questions, taking them through the process of adding their story. This forced the user to go through the process of adding a story in a very strict way, and presented more questions to the user than was usually necessary, at least for the simple cases.
A different approach
This go around, we took an approach that feels a bit like basecamp. Instead of providing a wizard, or series of questions that the user should enter, the user is presented with a set of tools that control the type of content that the user is contributing. This allows the user to add the type of data that they are interested in, without forcing the concept of “metadata” to the user.
An advantage with this model is that it offers more flexibility for creating pages. Users can add the types of data that they want, in a way that makes the page flow more naturally. They can now have several locations, descriptions, or none at all. It also feels a lot more like what the site should be all about: adding pages to a community’s almanac.
Under the hood
Thoughts for the future